Aside from the developments of Jan. 12, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) November/ December newsletter reports the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is so far costing Canadian cattle feeders and cow/calf producers about $90 per head.
There is really no ‘good news’ scenario to this situation. COOL refers to legislation introduced in the U. S. earlier this fall, that requires all meat — beef, pork poultry, bison, lamb — produced from animals born, raised and fed outside of the United States to be labelled and displayed as such by U. S. meat retailers.
The net result of having to segregate these animals and meat through the U. S. food chain is that fewer and fewer meat packers and retailers want to be bothered with Canadianraised animals. And if they do, it is at a considerable discount.
The CCA is monitoring the situation and trying to keep producers up-to-date and aware, but there is little that can be done. The CCA says there may be opportunity for a legal challenge to COOL but that would be a long and costly process.
If you get to the CCA website at www.cattle.caand click on the COOL update link, you can get a very clear picture of the situation.
There are five labeling classification under COOL: Classification ‘A’ refers to labelling of meat from cattle born and raised in the U. S.; ‘B’ refers to Canadian born feeders fed in the U. S. (for a period of time); ‘C’ refers to Canadian-fed cattle imported for immediate slaughter; ‘D’ refers to foreign meat imported into the U. S. labelled ‘Product of Canada;’ and ‘E’ refers to labelling of ground beef products. COOL does not apply to meat used in foodservice or processed foods.
As of the December 23, 2008 update, only two large U. S. packers, two mid-size U. S. packers and one small U. S. packers were accepting C classification cattle. The CCA reports that starting in January Cargill will be accepting B classification cattle at its Fort Morgan, Colordao and Plainview Texas plants, but no more C cattle. Tyson is no longer accepting C Class cattle. (see accompanying CCA map.)
A more detailed explanation is found in the CanFax report on U. S. packer procurement policies on the CCA website.